Image credit: Lillie Eiger
Rising star Etta Marcus today releases her Heart-Shaped Bruise EP featuring the new single ‘Smile For The Camera’ alongside a video shot on location in Prague by director Petr Simon. The hotly tipped singer-songwriter is marked out as one of 2023’s essential emerging artists, having landed a place in the prestigious NME 100, as well as garnering acclaim in the likes of The Line Of Best Fit, DIY, Clash, Notion, Hunger, The Independent, The Times and Wonderland, amongst others. The new five-track EP cements the 21-year-old musician’s reputation as one of the most compelling new artists to emerge in recent times, one whose sophisticated, intense songwriting recalls the Americana sweep of Sharon Van Etten, Lana Del Rey at her most classicist and the biting emotional contrasts of Phoebe Bridgers.
Stream/ Download: HEART-SHAPED BRUISE
Speaking about the EP’s focus track, Etta says “‘Smile For The Camera’ is sonically the most upbeat song I’ve written. But don’t let that fool you! It’s a mordantly funny but acutely felt song about falling apart in public. I use humour to cope with a lot of things and this song encapsulates that for me. The storytelling in this is inspired by Fountains of Wayne, a band I grew up listening to.”
Elaborating on her new EP, she says, “There’s a gritty, unfiltered, and unhinged quality to Heart Shaped Bruise. I wanted to capture the honesty in this body of work that included the more brutal side of things that we usually keep hidden away and feel embarrassed about. I like having arcs throughout my writing and piecing songs together to create a narrative that captures a specific time in my life. Heart Shaped Bruise is five songs that represent the gradual and inevitable acceptance of losing someone and the journey it takes to find contentment in that acceptance.”
It is written with producer Josh Scarbrow, Etta’s co-writing partner with whom she has a close creative relationship and mixed by Craig Silvey (Julien Baker/Arcade Fire).
At the start of the pandemic, Etta Marcus had hit rock bottom. She had just been kicked out of jazz school for being more invested in developing her voice as a songwriter than nerding out with the genre purists. “I was destroyed,” she says. Brixton-born and raised Etta knew she wanted to make a career out of music from when she was at primary school and college seemed like a logical way to make that happen. Inspired by her love of artists like David Bowie, Joni Mitchell and Jeff Buckley, she saw the path she wanted to follow as a singer-songwriter. Now she was stuck at home and couldn’t even get a job because of the lockdown. Her parents, who instilled in Etta and her older brother a love of music, told her to start sharing the songs she had been amassing on SoundCloud. “I’m quite precious with my stuff, and they were like: you’re going to have to put yourself out there.”
From there, things moved quickly. A lawyer got in touch wanting to work with her; they found her a manager, who scored Etta a deal with label services company Platoon. Despite having plenty of offers on the table, Etta wanted to do her debut independently. Released early in 2022, her debut View From the Bridge EP offers striking portraits of self-sabotage: obsessive, self-destructive relationships; careless burnouts riddled with regret; pushing away those you love.
With the release of the ‘Heart-Shaped Bruise’ EP on Polydor Records, Etta Marcus establishes herself as one of the most thrilling and original new talents to emerge in recent times.
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